Gift ideas -- choicest new books for the holidays; A galaxy of opera stars; Opera People, photographs by Christian Steiner, text by Robert M. Jacobson, introduction by Michael Scott. New York: The Vendome Press. 112 pp. $30.

''Opera People'' is for opera people.

It enshrines, in mostly marvelous Christian Steiner photos, 29 singers from the present and the recent past. Many of the photos are familiar from record jackets, and there are several disturbing omissions - Leonie Rysanek and Franco Corelli, to mention just two.

Mr. Steiner's own blurbs about working with the artists are often unnecessarily petty, even mean. Michael Scott's introduction deals at great length, though in less than scintillating fashion, with a history of opera singers. Robert Jacobson discusses the career and impact of each of the people enshrined in these pages - splendid counterpoint to photos that more often than not capture the essence of the performer at hand.

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